different squares containing people with narcolepsy doing various household chores

Household Tips Part 1: Making Life Easier

“Who called? When are they coming over? OH SNAP! I need to pick up the front room and do the dishes in the sink! Have I dusted recently? Ok, I think the house looks presentable! Are they bringing their kids? Where are MY kids? Have they cleaned their rooms? Oh my gosh! I haven’t even brushed my hair today!”

A rush of thoughts and feelings

These are the thoughts and rants I would experience when someone would come over unexpectedly. I know that it is common to experience this. However, when I become excited, my body reacts contrary to my needs!

My mind gets confused, and it almost feels like a slight panic feeling. The tiredness kicks in soon thereafter and getting all those little things done seems like a huge endeavor.

Small changes to make life easier

I experienced these feelings long before being diagnosed, so I slowly developed a system based on my physical/mental abilities. Now that I have been diagnosed for many years, I look back and see how I have made small adjustments due to my narcolepsy through the years and did not even realize it.

Don't let it build up

It is all about prevention! I do not know about you, but I cannot stand the thought of sitting down and having a mountain of laundry to do or looking over at some cleaning I have put off for weeks. It causes me to feel anxious, and we all know what happens when we feel anxious! The rollercoaster begins!

Develop habits in your kids

If you have children in the house, teach them that toys stay in the bedroom or playroom and only a certain limit of them can be allowed in the common rooms! You are not punishing your children for your narcolepsy; you are teaching good habits and avoiding drama and arguments as they grow!

Make it a family affair

Do not be afraid to sit down with your spouse or children and ask them to help! Explain to them that chores you usually do are becoming difficult. Maybe they can all pitch in for folding laundry. Make it a family night and rent a movie you can watch while everyone is folding their clothes. Give incentives for doing their own dishes or picking up after themselves without being asked. Every little bit helps and can alleviate all the little anxieties that can affect us unconsciously.

I could write so much more on things I have streamlined with children as they were growing; however, I will get more into that subject in another article.

My shopping tips

Planning and meal prep

Buy food in bulk! The less grocery runs, the better! Try to plan your meals ahead of time and buy plenty of meat to freeze and canned goods. I find it helpful to plan my meals by the week rather than try to figure it out each day. Having plenty of options in the pantry helps the never-ending mystery of “what’s for dinner?”

More convenience, less risk

If you have access to curbside pickup, use it! Do your grocery shopping from your home at your own pace! The trip to the store changes from this big 2-hour ordeal to a simple task. I do a lot of my shopping online. It helps me avoid driving and being in public, where the dangers of cataplexy attacks can happen, and sudden onset of sleep can occur!

How do you make life easier? Share your tips with us in the comments below!

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